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The All-you-can-eat Crude Oil Buffet: How Microscopic Life Eats Oil in the Ocean

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Part of Bigelow Laboratory’s Café Sci series at the Camden Public Library. Fourth Tuesdays, February – May 2017.

In April 2010, the Macondo well at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, causing uncontrollable fires that ultimately sank the rig and resulted in a massive off-shore oil spill at the site of the well. The well took months to seal during which time roughly 200 million gallons of crude oil were released into the ocean. While unprecedented efforts went into cleaning up and removing this oil, vast amounts washed up in coastal estuaries and on beaches or sank to the seafloor. In these places, microscopic organisms are important drivers of crude oil breakdown and removal.

Dr. Beth Orcutt, a Senior Research Scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, has been studying oil- and gas-eating microbes in the Gulf of Mexico for more than 15 years. On February 28, Orcutt will present “The All-you-can-eat Crude Oil Buffet: How Microscopic Life Eats Oil in the Ocean.” Guests will learn how important microbes are in the degradation of oil in the ocean and how lessons from the Gulf of Mexico apply to increasing commercial activity in Arctic Ocean.

Bigelow Laboratory’s Café Sci series is a fun, accessible way for people to engage with leading researchers on critical issues and cutting-edge ocean science. Thanks to generous sponsorship support by First Advisors, the Laboratory is pleased to join with Camden Public Library to offer a special, four-part Café Sci series in 2017.

Each one-hour talk will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Camden Public Library on February 28, March 28, April 25, and May 23. These events are free and open to the public. Members of the press are encouraged to attend.

Visit bigelow.org/cafesci for more information about this special Café Sci series.


Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit research institution on the coast of Maine. Our research ranges from the biology and ecology of marine microorganisms to large-scale ocean processes that affect the global environment.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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